Air Canada has plans to debut its own version of a “Book the Cook” service, which would allow international business class passengers to select their preferred meal from a list of options prior to a flight. This service is very similar to what some passengers can do through Singapore Airlines’s Book the Cook, and to a lesser extent with Thai Airways.
As first reported on Executive Traveller, Canada’s largest airline plans to offer the service from its three main hubs in Vancouver (YVR), Toronto Pearson (YYZ), and Montreal (YUL), and the rollout is expected to take around 18 months.
Air Canada to Launch “Book the Cook” Service
Air Canada has plans to debut its own version of a “Book the Cook” service, which would allow international business class passengers to select from a wide range of meal choices in advance of their flight.
This type of service has been available on Singapore Airlines for years, and it appears that Air Canada’s plans for its service are very much similar to what the Singapore-based carrier offers.
While full details have yet to be released, we now know that Air Canada is planning to slowly expand meal pre-selection over the next 18 months.
Air Canada executive Mark Nasr stated that the motivation behind the move is that since the catering stations at hubs are already cooking a wide variety of meals that cater to different destinations, why not just make all meals available across all international markets?
For example, from any of the hub airports, there are flights to many countries on various continents, and Air Canada tailors some of its menu options to match the destination. A flight from Montreal to Paris might highlight French cuisine, and a flight from Vancouver to Seoul might have a Korean option.
As the service gets rolled out, a passenger flying from Vancouver to, say, Australia would be able to choose from a number of cuisines in advance of their departure. While there are already three or four options onboard the flight, this will give passengers more options to choose from, and provides more of a bespoke experience overall.
Air Canada introduced meal pre-ordering on select routes earlier this year; however, the options are limited to what’s available on the in-flight menu. By ordering in advance, passengers are guaranteed to get the meal they want, rather than possibly missing out if the airline runs out.
As it stands, meal pre-ordering is available on around a dozen routes, and it’s expected to rollout to other routes in the near future. Air Canada expects to have its “Book the Cook”-style service available in its full capacity in around 18 months, which is by the end of 2024.
A Taste of What’s to Come?
Last fall, Air Canada announced a number of measures it was taking to improve both the ground and onboard experience it offers.
Inside the lounges, sparkling wine became available to guests, alongside a wider selection of wines and food.
For select passengers departing on an international business class flight, the Porsche chauffeur service also made a return in Toronto Pearson (YYZ) and had its debut in Vancouver (YVR). On a surprise-and-delight basis, passengers are whisked from a domestic connecting flight in a Porsche, and are dropped off in the international terminal to head straight to the Signature Suite.
At this point in time, Air Canada also fully restored its onboard Signature Class service, complete with pre-departure drinks, coat-hanging service, and an expanded menu.
In the more recent past, we learned preliminary details about a new business class product that’s set to debut on the airline’s order of Airbus A321XLR aircraft in 2025. These narrowbody planes will feature a lie-flat suite in a 1-1 configuration, and the design will set the stage for further refreshments to its existing wide-body business class product.
Just this week, Air Canada opened its newest lounge, the Aspire Air Canada Café at Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport (YTZ), with plans to open another lounge in San Francisco later this month. Air Canada Cafés are set to arrive in Montreal and Vancouver in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
Indeed, Air Canada has had a flurry of developments in the past few months, and its eventual implementation of a “Book the Cook”-type service is just the latest.
Air Canada has revealed its plans to begin a “Book the Cook”-style service on international business class routes departing from Vancouver (YVR), Toronto Pearson (YYZ), and Montreal (YUL). While the airline hasn’t made an official announcement, details of the plan were revealed in an interview posted on Executive Traveller.
It’s expected that Air Canada’s “Book the Cook” service will be available by the end of 2024, at which point passengers will be able to choose their meal from a list of 14–16 menu items in advance of their flight.
Currently, some passengers travelling in premium economy or business class are able to pre-select their meal; however, the options are limited to what’s available on the onboard menu. The “Book the Cook” service will be a further iteration of this, and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.